British fashion designer Paul Smith continues to inspire the next generation of menswear designers. Earlier this year, Smith announced a partnership program with PaulSmith aimed at promoting and maturing emerging talent. Funded by the Paul Smith Foundation, the initiative’s first recipient is London-based brand Ahluwalia, founded by Priya Ahluwalia. The label’s capsule collection dropped in April.
Commission, a New York label with roots in womenswear that launched in 2018 and expanded into menswear last year, is the latest recipient of Smith’s generosity. After meeting the brand in New York on Monday, Smith said he chose Commision because of the “clear creative synergy between the two brands and their potential to make a positive impact under Paul’s personal direction.”
Commission’s founders, Dylan Cao and Jin Kay, are first-generation immigrants from Vietnam and Korea, respectively. They graduated from The New School’s Parsons School of Design, where they built a network of friends that pushed them to work at other fashion houses. Agreeing that working there wasn’t bringing them joy, they soon decided to start their own brand. Women’s clothing takes inspiration from their mother’s work wardrobe. Clothing features the 80s and 90s, reinterpreted to reflect the modern woman. At the request of Canadian menswear store Ssense, Cao and Kay expanded their range of gendered products for 2021.
Smith works with the Council of Fashion Designers of America to mentor and develop emerging menswear designers in North America. The goal is to reach traditionally underserved communities and connect them with designers who can provide business opportunities and key business connections.
The committee was selected by the CFDA’s designer community, and the shortlist was presented to the designers by the organization’s internal committee. &PaulSmith’s Commission capsule collection will be released in Fall 2023. The pieces will be available at Paul Smith retail stores, the designer’s website and Ssense.